SEA ripe for ‘massive opportunities’ through digital in next decade

  • Patrick Grove curated Wild Digital infuses confidence in digital disruptors
  • Regional fintech player Soft Space gets US$5mil Series A from transcosmos Inc

IF there is one digital conference you want to attend in the region, it has to be the Catcha Group organized, Wild Digital conference.

It is a conference curated by Patrick Grove, Catcha Group co-founder and CEO who has created a conference that he would like to attend himself and while the one criticism of the event in the first two years has been the heavy skew of company pitches in which Catcha and Grove have invested in, that has lessened considerably this year.

What hasn’t lessened is the A-list speakers and audience the event attracts with Anthony Tan of Grab and Tony Fernandes of AirAsia headlining the conference this year.

Digital disruptors that they are, neither however spoke much about the digital economy with their fireside chats with Grove focused more on their journey’s so far.

But there was more than enough of that from the other speakers for those attending the event seeking inspiration and dose of belief that the Southeast Asian economy is ripe for digital disruption.

One of the speakers was Jungle Ventures managing partner David Gowdey who predicts, “massive opportunity for entrepreneurs in value creation through digital businesses over the next 10 years” in this region.

Gowdey points to the nexus of macro tail winds, which include GDP growth, growing middle class, urbanization and young population. Then there are the unique problem sets of the region which include the unbanked and under-banked and logistical challenges. The third and most interesting element is his observation of “historically slow moving traditional players, who to date, have under invested on digital.”

If that isn’t enough to get the undecided amongst you to sharpen your idea and turn it into a winning market proposition, then nothing will!

Speaking of winning, regional fintech player, Softspace Sdn Bhd, which focuses on digital mobile payments, has received a US$5 million (RM21.3 million) Series A round from Japanese e-commerce player transcosmos inc, giving itself a chance to be a winner in the fintech space.

Not surprisingly, both see strong potential helping traditional companies move to digital. Soft Space’s chief strategy officer, Chris Leong highlights that that investment will position both companies to be leading players in the region, helping businesses transform digitally.  

Let me just end with a plug for the inaugural hackhaton, Fintech Hacks, that Malaysia’s central Bank, Bank Negara Malaysia will be organising at the end of the year. It is currently welcoming submissions of your fintech ideas that can solve any pain points in the Malaysian financial ecosystem.

With the closing date for submissions of May 31st approaching, you need to hurry up submit your ideas through the Financial Technology Enabler Group’s website, through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter through #fintechhacks.

Have a restful weekend and a productive week ahead. And to all Muslim readers of DNA, happy fasting.

Editor’s Picks:

With Series A sealed, Soft Space now eyes stronger presence in Japan and Indonesia

Cradle’s CIP300 accelerates the weaning off of grants in Malaysia

Scepticism still surrounds medical technology

ModeFair takes e-commerce to a whole new social level

Ventures in the Southeast Asian jungle

Survey highlights risks to Indonesian consumers in using digital financial services

Industry vets behind Ezyhaul bring innovation to logistics industry

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